Briarcliff Schools Announce Superintendent's Departure

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The Briarcliff Manor School District announced the departure of Superintendent Neal Miller, right, in an emailed statement from board President Sal Maglietta, left.
The Briarcliff Manor School District announced the departure of Superintendent Neal Miller, right, in an emailed statement from board President Sal Maglietta, left. Photo Credit: Nathan Bruttell

Updated at 4:45 p.m. BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Briarcliff Manor School District’s superintendent will be leaving at the end of the school year, the Briarcliff Board of Education announced late Tuesday.

Following Neal Miller’s “planned departure at the end of June,” Briarcliff High School Principal James Kaishian is set to take over as superintendent in July, according to an emailed letter to the community from school board President Sal Maglietta. The letter notes there was “a significant amount of research and discussion regarding the options available to the board.”

“The board looks forward to Mr. Miller’s support and leadership through the next six months,” Maglietta said in the email to the community. “As your board, we will share more information on this matter in the coming months. Thank you for your continued support of our schools and community.”

Maglietta was hesitant to say Wednesday whether Miller or the board initiated the departure.

“It was a mutual agreement by the parties,” he said. “That’s all there is to say.”

Maglietta referred all other questions to newly hired independent media relations group Syntax. Diedre Gilligan, director of media relations for Syntax, said she could not offer information on which party initiated the discussions.

"The only thing I can say is that the agreement was the product of ongoing conversation between the board and the superintendent,” she said Wednesday afternoon, adding that Kaishian could become the permanent superintendent sooner rather than later. “(Kaishian) will be the acting superintendent until the end of Miller’s (separation agreement) at the end of the calendar year on Dec. 31 or (before that) if superintendent Miller gets a new job – at which time Kaishian would become the permanent superintendent.” 

Miller's contract was set to expire in three years. While Gilligan could not answer how long the board had been in discussions with Miller about him leaving the district, she said the board opted not to hire a search firm for a new superintendent.

“No search was done or is going to be done,” she said. “As far as reasons for that, the board spelled it out in the letter as far as Kaishian’s experience and long time with the district and that they felt he was the right man for the job.”

A separate letter sent out Wednesday detailed Kaishian’s history with the school district and the planned transition.

“As you probably know, Mr. Kaishian has worked with the district in a variety of leadership capacities over the past twelve years, serving as principal in two of our three schools,” Maglietta wrote in the second statement. “We believe the appointment of Mr. Kaishian as our new school district leader will provide the schools, students, district teachers and staff and the community with a continuity of leadership and broad community awareness that is reassuring and proven.”

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The community all but demanded Jim Kaishian replace Fran Wills several years ago. The then current BOE wouldn't have it. That BOE ran Fran Wills out of the District. Then they strung us along for a year with Jerry Cicchelli and then mis-fired on their hiring of Neal Miller. This BOE has finally rectified the poor leadership decisions of a previous BOE. Jim Kaishian will be a terrific Superintendent. Furthermore, it is what the community wanted from the outset. It appears that this situation was handled with the appropriate level of discretion. Transparency is not always an option in Human Resource issues.